Paris' New Girls

photo, quai de la  gare, saturday night Te Left Bank version of the coming 'Paris–Plage.'

Heatwave of the Week

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 17. July:–  Tonight this town has made it into the big leagues with Météo France putting the Ile de France on the dreaded Alert Orange list along with a great deal of western France and the mouth of the Rhône. France looks like somebody afflicted with red boils, all of them extrème.

As a service for readers I have done more than look out the window this evening, where it is currently quite dark. I have consulted Metropole's official conversion thermometre – actually a photo of one – and it tells me that our forecast high for tomorrow of 36 degrees will be the equivalent of Météo Jim's Pommeland prediction of 35 degrees, which is, which is, ah, look closely, somewhere about 97 degrees here equals our 36. Frankly, Pommeland can keep its 35 degrees, whatever it is in those little F's.

But it is tonight's forecast low of 20 degrees that gives us the Alert Orange. This emergency measure requires that all adults between the ages of 16 and 76 must carry a cool spray bomb of water and give everybody obviously 77 years old or older a fine cooling blast in the face.

You may think this is a poor excuse for air conditioning. While you may be right we still haven't got much in the way of air–con or clim as it is sometimes called here, and even if we did have lots of it, it would be in the wrong places, like in funeral parlors and outdoor swimming pools.

Where it's really needed is in the Métro. These days if you are down there you could easily think you are riding the MTA's F train from Queens to Manhattan and even that wouldn't be correct because the F–train is air conditioned. New Yorkers need it more than Parisians.

However it is not humid. There is a breeze, although not strong. Just enough so you won't forget the smell of frites. Tuesday's sky will be all blue all day and into the night when it will be still blue but too dark to see. Then on Wednesday there will be some of those thin, wispy clouds like sky–high haze, but the temperature will still be expected to reach 34 degrees.

photo, floating pool, josephine bakerThe new pool is closed for shakedown repairs.

Just when we were gasping, thinking this is a true heatwave, Thursday will bring relief in the form of one of our big windshieldwiper waves of clouds and instability, sweeping from west to east stretching from south to north. I noted a high of 30 for the day but TV's Isabelle was in the way and it might have been more. Well, after tomorrow's 36 it will probably seem cool, only a degree or so less than today. I wonder where they sell those cool spray bombs of water.

Today's Le Parisien sums up the next three days with Trop... trop chaud... et crac! for the whole country. Just for around here they have Plus, plus, plus!

HHH Spells Muggy Muggy Night

Since this is summer and most newspapers are devoting space to serious, important news such as theatrical events and other forms of entertainment, Météo Jim flicks his ever trusty, rusty and ready – and by now dried out – Bic to write the Weakly Weather Report using that format.

The past week in Pommeland saw the Radio City Lightningblitzen and Thunder–boomerettes dance, flash and boom their way across Pommeland along with temporary, long lasting downpours. That act was followed by clearing and warmer weather with occasional appearances by the group HHHHazy, Hot and Humid.

For the days ahead, le Fourneau de juillet is roasting to a fine crisp the first canicule of the season! Yes, you read it here first! Une canicule! It is expected to pop out of the oven on Sunday with temperatures in the low 90's – add 5 degrees to get the actual temperature – accompanied by the ever popular HHH and continue to grow in popularity so that by Tuesday the temperature will reach the century mark – 100 degrees. It is expected to perform to sold–out crowds until Thursday or Friday, but if there is enough demand, it may have an extended run.

photo, batofar alongside the quay Cafés of the beach beside the boats.

As usual, with the extreme heat and humidity, the Lightningblitzen and Thunderboomerettes can make an appearance at any time. As even more usualer, all claims and disclaimers are claimed and disclaimed, though not necessarily in that order.

Café Life

Paris' New Girls

New stuff is the new floating pool in the Seine, named Josephine Baker. The other new stuff is the footbridge from Bercy on the right bank to the Quai de la Gare on the left bank. Maybe it's not be the Quai de la Gare anymore. The bridge, inaugurated last Thursday, is named Simone de Beauvoir. Both, the bridge and the pool, which was inaugurated last week, are defect. I don't know what's wrong with either. Part of the bridge was closed on Saturday and a security guy told me it wasn't shaking down right. On it, I thought it jiggled quite a bit but maybe it is supposed to.

Just to make things really interesting, the line 6 Métro is closed this summer – from Bercy to the Place d'Italie. It means you can't take the Métro from the Left Bank to the Quai de la Gare to go to the new pool and other Paris–Plage stuff. You can walk across from Bercy – where nobody lives except for the Cinémathèque. You can also take the Right Bank's line 14 but that doesn't do anybody in Montparnasse any good.

The good news is that the old red Batofar is still there, still serving drinks and still has its quayside terrace. Same for the Pirate and another tub next to the Batofar.

In winter it must be cozy to be on these old hulks, whiling away a gray afternoon or a drizzly evening, rocking gently in the river with a glass in the hand and no pressing concerns. I'll not think of how damp you might have become just getting to them because now that we are having Majorca weather it hardly matters. Today you can go there wearing flip–flops and a handkerchief.

photo, seine, library, batofarFormer cement port transformed into resort.

Aside from the music – better at the place next to the Batofar on Saturday, with a white guy playing live rock piano – with bass and drums – singing like Joe Cocker cum Van Morrison, the terraces beside the boats are really cool. Plain, funky, grass shack types, with deckchairs, bamboos, crates and barrels, and very little background noise.

Uncle Den–Den goes to Bercy quite often to see Italian comedies and he was telling me about steering some young folks to the Quai de a Gare, inadvertantly landing them in this construction site. The area used to enjoy benign neglect, sort of like a humble riverside squat but now it seems to be getting the added–value treatment.

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